Cultural stereotypes are a menace to the increasingly dynamic American society, and the last few years has seen the emergence of disruptors who are not only challenging these stereotypes but offering an alternative discourse, especially for the benefit of the younger generation who risk growing up without learning that they come from a culturally rich background.
Manuel Godoy is a cultural disruptor whose background in the military teaches them never to give up and keep fighting for what he believes in. As the creator of Black Sands, Manuel’s comic collection features black history, experiences and rich cultural heritage.
Manuel Godoy is a creative artist and a comic book writer from New York City. Before taking up a career writing comic books, Manuel was in the US Army for six years before he went to college to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. After that, his writing career took off when Black Sands, the Seven Kingdoms, was created.
Growing up, Manuel always dreamt of being a videogame developer. Still, certain constraints ranging from financial and technical meant that he was never going to finish any of his projects. This realization then prompted him to pivot into a more sustainable career in comic books, and he hasn’t looked back since.
Although he primarily works from home with a virtual team that cuts across international boundaries, however, away from work, Manuel considers himself an utterly traditional man who spends most of his days with his wife, Geisel, and his two kids.
For a long time, the comic book industry has reinforced certain stereotypes that have translated into a limitation for black people, especially kids. But Manuel represents a cultural alternative in the comic book industry. He is the only black comic publisher with impressive sales to the tune of millions of dollars, telling the so-called “unmarketable” stories that black kids can relate to.
And on what makes him fulfilled about his chosen career path, Manuel said, “Seeing black parents and their kids so happy about heroes that not only look like them but also connect culturally to a greater legacy.
As a black comic publisher in a white-dominated comic industry, Manuel attributes his motivation to wanting to stand apart and create value without really chasing after profits or financial rewards. At the same time, the determination to act professionally is another critical factor that has shaped his sojourn so far, “While most people focus on the creative, I tend to focus on the next corporate milestone,” he explains.
As the first and the only black comic book publisher, Manuel recalled how extremely important it was to raise capital when he was starting. Achieving success early on was the push he needed because Black Sands was catapulted immediately into relevance, and from there, investors began to line up.
A few years after writing his first comic or launching to a widely skeptical audience, Manuel had gone from a relatively unknown creator to a household name whose stock has risen over the years and appears to be unstoppable.
Black Sands features exclusively black history before slavery, which is an extremely overlooked genre. Black Sands is a pioneer of this predominantly ignored market, and it has put Manuel and his team firmly in control of the market.
Manuel believes time will only make things better considering the amount of quality Black Sands offers on its products and the impressive organic social media following the brand has amassed over time. And five years from now, he says, “We want to get to an annual income of $10 million while finishing up the first season of Black Sands, the anime. Once that is done, licensing could break $100 million.”
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